Research

The Film Archive Austria takes great pride in basing its archival work on a sound scientific foundation. Numerous research projects, many of them carried out in collaboration with partner institutions both national and international, not only highlight the prominent role accorded to scholarship in our house but regularly result in excellent publications released through our in-house press. The basis for all forms of research is the fact-oriented documentation of our holdings.


CONTACT

Dr. Armin Loacker
a.loacker@filmarchiv.at
+43 (0)1 216 13 00 – 240

A central project in this context is the Österreichische Filmografie, a detailed survey of all films made in Austria from the beginnings to the present day. The Filmarchive Austria has also repeatedly participtaed in EU research projects set up with the aim of interconnecting and integrating the various national data bases. Thus, the project European Film Gateway has led to the creation of an online portal for the documentation of Europe’s cinematic heritage. Another focus of the FAA’s research activities is on presenting films in their respective historical contexts, as testified by numerous projects, e.g. on the history of cinema in the Hapsburg Monarchy, proletarian filmsnewsreels, political filmmaking in the First and Second Republic, film propaganda under Nazism and Austrian film censorship.

Austrian Filmography

The Austrian Filmography is the base catalog for the study of Austrian feature film production ‒ a valuable collection of sources, an orientation map for in-depth research and an invaluable reference work for anyone interested in the history of Austrian cinema. The Film Archive Austria has published a first volume documenting in detail the early years of domestic film production, from its beginnings through 1918. Many films thought to be permanently lost are described here in great detail. The Austrian Filmography provides ample information about production, distribution, casting and cuts required by censorship. Two further installments are currently being prepared for publication: one on the remaining years of the silent era (1918‒1930), the other on early Austrian sound films (1930‒1938).

Catalog of Films Released in Austria

Many movies thought to be permanently lost are described here in great detail. The publication, intended both as a handbook and a reader, references many films and film projects that are widely unknown and includes a plethora of details about production, distribution, casting and cuts required by censorship. For some years now, a small team of scholars affiliated with the FAA has been working on a survey of all the films released in Austria. The result will constitute the first comprehensive database for the history of domestic theater programming. The Austrian Filmography will thus be supplemented with a reliable, fact-filled overview of what was screened where and when in Austrian movie theaters.

Paimann’s Filmlisten

Paimann’s Film Lists, named after Franz Paimann, who edited them until 1965, listed all films released in Austrian theaters. Each entry contained a capsule review, a synopsis, credits, censorship comments and a rating. The first issue came out in 1916. From 1921 onward, Paimann’s Film Lists were published weekly. The publication, which was free from any industry influence, was primarily targeted at Austrian theater owners and enjoyed a particularly high standing among those operating outside the capital. Due to the detailed information they contain about all the movies that were distributed in Austria, Paimann’s Film Lists are today regarded as an invaluable source for domestic film scholarship. As part of the EU project European Film Gateway, the FAA has completely documented its holdings of Paimann’s Film Lists and made a selection of them available online.

EFG - European Film Gateway

European Film Gateway is an internet portal that provides quick and easy access to hundreds of thousands of film historical documents from the holdings of sixteen European film archives and cinematheques based in fifteen European countries: stills and set photographs, film posters, production notes, costume designs, film programs, journals, censorship files, rare features and documentaries, newsreels and other materials. Scholars and movie buffs alike can use the EFG to gain insights into European film production from its beginnings to the present, or they can search the database by names, movie titles or key words. The Film Archive Austria has contributed to the project numerous World War I-related documents as well as a digitalized version of Paimann’s Film Lists.

History of Viennese Movie Theaters

While a number of valuable studies have been published about certain aspects of Vienna’s cinema history ‒ for instance, case studies of individual districts and neighbourhoods ‒ an exhaustive portrayal of the city’s movie theaters past and present has remained a desideratum to this day. To fill this gap the FAA has initiated a research project aiming to provide the first comprehensive survey of the development of cinemas in the Danube metropolis. Under the project leadership of Florian Pauer, a two-volume documentation is currently being prepared for publication, in which each enterprise that has ever been in the business of showing movies in Vienna, from the travelling cinema entrepreneurs of the monarchy to today’s multiplexes, will be listed. Besides supplying detailed descriptions of individual companies, the documentation will enable readers to visualize the individual venues, most of which have long disappeared.

Proletarian Cinema in Austria

This project is the first comprehensive survey of proletarian cinema in the First Republic. Taking a leaf out of the »Soviet Projections«, the social-democratic labor party ‒ especially in Red Vienna and often at more than one remove from the political establishment ‒ developed its own formats of cinematic articulation. Extensive research, especially in Russian archives, not only yielded valuable insights and discoveries, but also significantly enlarged the material data on which to base an informed evaluation of this hitherto largely unknown chapter of political filmmaking. The results of this research project (under the project leadership of Christian Dewald) were published as Proletarian Cinema in Austria, a boxed set containing two books and a DVD.

Österreichische Wochenschauen

Over  a series of annotational projects, the FAA has succeeded in comprehensively documenting and publishing its holdings of Austrian weekly newsreels, which are a crucial source for the study of Austria’s cultural and political history. Separate large-scale projects were devoted, respectively, to the corporative state’s ÖSTERREICH IN BILD UND TON [Austria in Image and Sound], the NS regime’s OSTMARK-WOCHENSCHAU and the AUSTRIA WOCHENSCHAU. A project focussing on Austrian-themed segments featured in FOX TÖNENDE WOCHENSCHAU has also been brought to completion. The results of all the research projects have been published in the form of books and DVDs.

Censorship in Austria

The rediscovery of Austrian film-censorship lists has made available to film scholars one of the most important sources for the study of Austrian film history. As part of a long-time research project, which was also accompanied by a series of publications, the Film Archive Austria has put together for the first time an index of all existing censorship-related documents. Since these files often contain the only information we have about certain movies, this database is not only an indispensable tool for anyone concerned with filmographic research but also key for gaining a detailed picture of how films were historically distributed and programmed in Austrian cinemas. All books on the history of Austrian film censorship published to date are available at our store.